Looking for a Complete Plant Protein: What is Pea Protein?

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A pea may seem like an unlikely candidate to provide you with the energy you need for your workout. But for a little vegetable it sure packs a punch in the protein stakes.

Traditionally protein powders and supplements have used either egg or milk (whey) to form the main base of protein. This is because they offer a ‘complete’ source of protein.

What is a complete source of protein?

A complete source of protein is a source of protein which contains all nine essential amino acids that the body can’t produce itself- histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and therefore having all nine in your daily diet is important for muscle recovery and growth.

Pea protein is a great alternative or addition to whey protein if you’re looking to switch up your protein intake. From avid users to ocassional sippers, pea protein is a mjor contender.

So what is Pea Protein?

Contrary to what you might think, pea protein powder isn’t made out of the green peas that you find in your freezer – its in fact made out of yellow peas.

Yellow peas, also known as split peas, have been used to make soups and broths for hundreds of years, and contain huge nutritional benefits including most of the essential amino acids, carbohydrates, fibre and vitamins.

Containing 7 of the 9 essential amino acids, and being a slowly digesting protein, makes pea protein ideal for weight lifting, body building to runners and CrossFitters alike. It also contains arginine which is a useful amino acid for increasing lean muscle mass. Although the body produces arginine itself, levels often reduce when we are ill or experiencing stress.

Is pea protein a complete protein?

Alone, pea protein, doesn’t count as a complete protein source. It is missing two of the essential proteins – methionine and cysteine.

To be effective, and most beneficial, it therefore must be combined with other protein sources to be considered complete.

Thankfully other plant based protein sources make up for where pea protein is lacking. Brown rice protein contains adequate amounts of methionine, whilst soy protein contains cysteine.

Our vegan protein powder PRO V-GAIN blends all three of these together to give you your full amino acid profile, and a complete protein source – ideal for a vegan or dairy free diet!

If you’re looking for some inspiration for diary free, vegan friendly or gluten free recipes why not check out our nutritional area here.

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